Unlike the first-team side before the international break, Steve Gatting’s u23 side were victorious over their north London counterparts in an impressive manner away from home.
Goals from returning fullback Mathieu Debuchy as well as a late penalty from Stephy Mavididi sealed a sweet result over Ugo Ehiogu’s team, who now find themselves at the bottom of the u23 Premier League table with ten matches played.
Debuchy, who hasn’t featured for the senior side at all this term through injury, returned to competitive action in encouraging style – breaking the deadlock after 65 minutes with a volley from close-range which crashed in off the crossbar.
It was not all plain sailing for the Young Guns though, especially as Spurs kept possession well for sustained periods without creating many clear-cut opportunities. One of their few chances on-goal was where Tom Carroll’s inviting pass fed the run of Shayon Harrison, who accelerated goalwards and struck a low drilled effort but was unable to beat the imposing figure of Matt Macey.
Anthony Georgiou’s strike at goal took a deflection and forced another intervention from Macey to avoid conceding before the interval, but Reiss Nelson and goalscorer Mavididi in particular were involved in promising opportunities in the final third – both denied by saves from Pau Lopez, making his first appearance at this level.
The match was increasingly open in the second-half and Arsenal found themselves gradually asserting control in midfield. Krystian Bielik came close but ultimately missed a great opportunity to open the scoring in the 50th minute from eight yards out, before the visitors’ dominance eventually resulted in the all-important goal.
Chris Willock’s incisive cross towards the back post fell into the path of Debuchy, who was on hand to slam goalwards and give Lopez no chance.
It went from bad to worse for Spurs youngsters as Charlie Owens was given his marching orders for a cynical foul on Gedion Zelalem. The talented midfielder, who turns 20 in January, was essentially through on-goal down the right but was blatantly held back. Refereee Craig Hicks had no real choice but to send the player off, as he had blatantly prevented a goal-scoring opportunity.
The numerical advantage gave Arsenal an extra gear going forward, with Zelalem beginning to get more involved across the midfield, whilst Nelson came close once more to increasing his tally of goals for the campaign.
The nail in the coffin for Spurs was just before stoppage time, when Kaylen Hinds was hauled down in the box by Luke Amos and a penalty was awarded. Mavididi sent Lopez the wrong way from the spot-kick to double Arsenal’s lead, a deserved one given their second-half improvement.
Matt Macey as usual performed well when called into action and earned his clean sheet after Anton Walkes was denied a consolation from point-blank range, with the 21-year-old tipping his effort over the crossbar in the final few moments at Spurs’ training ground.
Next up for Steve Gatting’s side is a home clash against Leicester, who thrashed Derby 5-0 in the day’s only other fixture.